Devin Haney says he wants to beat former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa worse than Terence Crawford and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis did. Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) is in negotiations with former IBF/WBA 126-pound champion Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) for his next fight.
Devin, 21, views the 38-year-old former 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist Gamboa as a way for him to be considered to be in better than the guys that have beaten him in the past. Besides Crawford and Tank, Gamboa also has a defeat against the always tough journeyman Robinson Castellanos in 2017.
What Haney is failing to understand is the perception that boxing fans will have of him if he takes on the much older past his prime Gamboa. The Cuban fighter is older, and he’s coming off of a torn Achilles tendon from his 12th round knockout loss to Tank Davis last December.
It’s going to be difficult for Haney to receive any credit from the boxing public by beating Gamboa at this point. This is a lose-lose situation for Haney, who won’t get credit for facing Gamboa, and he’s going to be viewed as a cherry-picker for making this fight.
Gamboa was a better fighter than Haney is right now when he burst onto the pro scene in 2007 after escaping from Cuba. Yuriorkis was a much better fighter during his prime than what Haney is shown.
Even though Gamboa was lighter than Haney is now, and he was a lot more powerful and much, much faster in terms of hand speed. When you look at Gamboa’s old fights from a decade ago, he’s on a different plateau to where the heavily hyped Haney is now.
Haney is a good fighter, but he’s nowhere near the talent that Gamboa. What helps Haney is he speaks English, and his management hypes him like mad. For some reason, Gamboa never had that.
Yuriorkis gave Tank Davis hell
“That’s a fight that I’m looking into, and we’re negotiating,” said Haney to Fighthype on a match against Gamboa. “I seen a lot of people have things to say about it. Gamboa is a valid opponent.
“He hasn’t ducked or dodged nobody. He’s been in there with the best of them, and he’s given hell to all the top fighters he’s fought. It’s been a dog fight, and in his last fight was against Tank, which he tore his Achilles in the second round.
“He gave Tank hell. Tank eventually got him out of there in 12, but it wasn’t easy. So I want to show the world that I’ll beat him worse than Tank, I will beat him worse than Terence Crawford did, and I will beat him worse than all these fighters have beaten him.
“If I can’t get the top guys, then I’m going to fight the guys that they’re [Gervonta Davis] fighting. I’m going to show the world. ‘Well, he fought him, and he did this.’ I’m going to show what I’m going to do to him,” said Haney.
Gamboa wasn’t giving Tank a lot of problems after he suffered his Achilles injury in the second round. After injuring his ankle, Gamboa played it safe and stayed on the outside to keep from getting knocked out.
Yuriorkis rarely engaged against Gervonta, and that allowed him to make it into the 12th. In the final round, Gamboa tried to push for a knockout, and Tank took advantage of his aggressiveness by stopping him.
Even without the Achilles injury, Gamboa would have been over-matched against the younger and much bigger 25-year-old Tank Davis. You’ve got to give Gambo massive respect for fighting with a complete tear of his right Achilles for the last ten rounds of the fight, but that injury isn’t the reason why he lost.
Haney wants to impress the world
“I’m looking to fight Tank, and if I can’t fight Tank, then I’ll fight Gamboa,” said Devin. “Gamboa was in a dog fight with Tank. That wasn’t an easy fight. Tank didn’t go in there and blow Gamboa out of the water.
“Gamboa was hitting him with shots with a torn Achilles. Gamboa was in the fight. So if I can’t get Tank, then I’ll fight Gamboa. That’s with any of the top guys. I’m not just chasing specifically just Tank.
“I’m saying whoever it is. Gamboa isn’t ducking or dodging nobody. Gamboa is willing to fight me, and he wants to fight me. So let’s get the fight made. Ryan Garcia beat Fonseca better than Tank.
“So this fight [against Gamboa] makes sense. I want to go in there and look better than Tank did. That’s the whole goal to go in there and beat him worse than Tank. My goal, of course, is to be victorious, but I want to make a statement with this fight.
“I want to show the world that I’m on a different level than the other top guys at my weight class,” said Devin.
Gamboa isn’t the right opponent for Devin to be facing if he wants to impress the boxing world. Had this version of Haney been able to get into a time machine and return to 2007 when Gamboa was at his best, then he could make a statement potentially by beating him then.
The Gamboa that we saw from 2007 to 2011 beats Haney and does quickly. Haney isn’t that type of talent. He has a lot of people hyping him, but he’s not another Floyd Mayweather Jr or even another Gamboa.
Haney is just a good primary fighter with limited hand speed and below-average punching power. What Haney has going for him is he tries hard, and he surrounds himself with the right people like Mayweather.
To impress people, Haney needs to beat some of these fighters:
- Vasiliy Lomachenko
- Gervonta Davis
- Teofimo Lopez
- Miguel Berchelt
- Shakur Stevenson
- Jose Ramirez
- Josh Taylor
- Regis Prograis
- Gary Russell Jr
You can argue that most of those fighters would beat Haney, and his career would be in shambles. Haney says none of those fighters want to face him, but he could likely get a fight against any of them if his promoters tried to throw him into the deep end.
Devin won’t hold back against Gamboa
“It puts pressure on me to go in there and put on a great performance,” Devin said. “I’m motivated to do it. My last opponent [Alfredo Santiago], I didn’t know him.
“I took him on a week’s notice, and I didn’t have any motivation for him. Of course, I trained hard and gave it my all in training camp like always. But going into the fight, there wasn’t much footage to watch on.
“But this fight is different. Gamboa is someone that I looked up to coming up and is someone that I idolized and watched his fights and his highlights before going to the gym. So this fight would mean a lot to me.
“This is someone that I’ve looked up to, and now this is a possible opponent for me. It’s crazy. Not at all,” said Haney when asked if it’ll be difficult for him to go full throttle on Gamboa.
“I want to show him I’m the new guy. His time has come and past, and now it’s my time. I’m the young kid that he was seen as when he was young. Now I’m the new king,” said Haney.
You can’t imagine Haney holding back against Gamboa because he’s got him where he wants him. Gamboa is old, coming off of an injury and beat down the knockout loss to Tank Davis. In other words, Gamboa has been softened up for Haney.